As I read the obstacles, struggles, fears, and concerns she shared, I thought back to my first open water swim. The water was cold and somehow the 500 meters across the lake seemed double to the twenty-lap equivalent in the pool. There weren’t any clearly marked lines painted along the bottom. Only a blur of feet pelting me in the head and face and the occasional buoy shrouded in fog. As wave after wave swept over me, filling my nose and mouth with murky lake water, it felt like I fought a losing battle. For every exhausting stroke forward, the current pulled me half a stroke back. So I kicked harder. Before long, my tense muscles killed my buoyancy. My legs sank like anchors, throwing my body off alignment. For about two minutes. Then, muscle memory kicked in and my body relaxed, allowing me to follow the gentle ebb and flow of the current.
The result? The minute I quit fighting and striving and pounding the water, my body started to relax. And a relaxed body floats much better than a tense one. Before long, I fell into a nice, smooth rhythm that carried me to shore with much less effort on my part.
The same holds true for our spiritual life as well. We’ll hear God’s call. Maybe it’s to start a new Sunday school class or join a critique group, or maybe it’s to go back to school after ten, twenty or thirty years out. And all we can see are all the waves crashing against our face, pulling us back to shore. We begin to sink under a torrent of to-do lists and expectations, forgetting that the God who told us to jump in is ready and able to carry us to the other side. He’s already got our course mapped out. He knows which way the wind will blow, which way the waves will crash, and which currents will carry us the farthest. It is our choice, then, to close our eyes and relax, allowing our bodies to float in whatever direction He carries us, knowing that He will not let us drown; or we can fight the waves, beating ourselves into a frenzy of exhaustion without moving forward.
The funny thing is, ten (or twenty or thirty, God only knows) years from now we’ll end up in the same place–standing on the shore looking back over God’s faithfulness, grateful for the lessons learned along the way. The question is, what will our condition be once we arrive? Exhausted from a life of striving or peacefully content after having taken the ride of our lives?
Jennifer Slattery writes for Christ to the World, the Christian Pulse, and Samie Sisters. She’s the marketing manager for the literary website, Clash of the Titles, and works for Tiffany Colter the Writing Career Coach doing critiques and marketing. She’s written for numerous publications, websites, and E-zines and has placed in numerous contests. Visit her devotional blog, Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud to find out more about her and her writing.
Jennifer, thank you for sharing your inspirational words with us today.
I want to reach the other shore looking back at God's faithfulness "peacefully content, after having taken the ride of" my life.